Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 22. Planning, Subdivision of Land and Zoning

§ 15.2-2295.1. Regulation of mountain ridge construction.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Construction" means the building, alteration, repair, or improvement of any building or structure.

"Crest" means the uppermost line of a mountain or chain of mountains from which the land falls away on at least two sides to a lower elevation or elevations.

"Protected mountain ridge" means a ridge with (i) an elevation of 2,000 feet or more and (ii) an elevation of 500 feet or more above the elevation of an adjacent valley floor.

"Ridge" means the elongated crest or series of crests at the apex or uppermost point of intersection between two opposite slopes or sides of a mountain and includes all land within 100 feet below the elevation of any portion of such line or surface along the crest.

"Tall buildings or structures" means any building, structure or unit within a multi-unit building with a vertical height of more than 40 feet, as determined by ordinance, measured from the top of the natural finished grade of the crest or the natural finished grade of the high side of the slope of a ridge to the uppermost point of the building, structure or unit. "Tall buildings or structures" does not include (i) water, radio, telecommunications or television towers or any equipment for the transmission of electricity, telephone or cable television; (ii) structures of a relatively slender nature and minor vertical projections of a parent building, including, but not limited to, chimneys, flagpoles, flues, spires, steeples, belfries, cupolas, antennas, poles, wires or windmills; or (iii) any building or structure designated as a historic landmark, building or structure by the United States or by the Board of Historic Resources.

B. Determinations by the governing body of heights and elevations under this section shall be conclusive.

C. Any locality in which a protected mountain ridge is located may, by ordinance, provide for the regulation of the height and location of tall buildings or structures on protected mountain ridges. The ordinance may be designed and adopted by the locality as an overlay zone superimposed on any preexisting base zone.

D. An ordinance adopted under this section may include criteria for the granting or denial of permits for the construction of tall buildings or structures on protected mountain ridges. Any such ordinance shall provide that permit applications shall be denied if a permit application fails to provide for (i) adequate sewerage, water, and drainage facilities, including, but not limited to, facilities for drinking water and the adequate supply of water for fire protection and (ii) compliance with the Erosion and Sediment Control Law (§ 62.1-44.15:51 et seq.).

E. Any locality that adopts an ordinance providing for the regulation of the height and location of tall buildings or structures on protected mountain ridges shall send a copy of the ordinance to the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.

F. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect or impair a governing body's authority under this chapter to define and regulate uses in any existing zoning district or to adopt overlay districts regulating uses on mountainous areas as defined by the governing body.

2000, c. 732; 2013, cc. 516, 756, 793; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 401.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.